Facebook Connect: What is Facebook Connect and How Should You Use it for Your Website?

Written by AnonymousFebruary 7, 2011

Facebook Connect allows users to log in and sign up for third-party apps, games, websites, and services using only their Facebook account.  This is essentially the end result of a set of APIs and the Open Graph protocol created by the social network for third-party developers and users to integrate and share content and communities.

It is nearly impossible to avoid Facebook Connect when visiting sites and using apps nowadays, and this certainly isn’t surprising given the benefits for both developers and users. However, while some developers have been able to implement Facebook Connect APIs in a way that improves and extends the end user experience, others have failed to take advantage of this great opportunity to leverage the social networks more than 400 million users.

These are the reasons why we have decided to take some time today to share our thoughts on the best practices for implementing Facebook Connect APIs into your application or website.

Implementing Facebook Connect for Login

Logging in to several accounts for the various applications, services, and other online resources we use has become a daily annoyance for many. Luckily Facebook has done an excellent job of simplifying user sign-in and registration by allowing users to log in to any app, website, or online service using a Facebook Connect API.

This is by far the most effective implementation of the APIs and has quickly become a web standard. We strongly recommend you start with adding the Facebook for login API to your website or app using the open source JavaScript SDK before exploring other Connect integration options. To do this, you will first have to get a unique identifier known as an App ID. To get started, register your website here.

Integrating Social Plugins with Facebook Connect

Another method that is quickly become a web standard is allowing users to share content from your website or application via their Facebook account.  By implementing certain Social Plugin APIs, you can provide your users with a “Like” button to share links to your content via their Facebook profile. Likewise, you can utilize the Comments plugin to let users comment on your site while logged into their FB account and share the comments on their Wall.

While the majority of both developers and users have become quite familiar with these features, not as many realize the importance of customizing the user experience using social plugins.

Tracking demographics through Facebook Connect

The biggest implication of the massive push of Facebook Connect integration is the ability to customize the user experience and access detailed analytics of users. For example, the Recommendations plugin allows you to recommend pages on your website that users might enjoy based on content they’ve liked, and other info from their FB profile.  This is by far the biggest trend when it comes to taking advantage of Connect and its ability to allow you to tap into the social networks massive community and feature-set.

Facebook also provides developers with a tool known as Insights, an app that provides detailed analytic reports for your website or app integrated with Connect APIs. This allows you to track new installs, monthly active users, and other data that can help you optimize the user experience and better leverage the APIs.

With Facebook Connect quickly changing the way in which we all interact with websites and applications on a daily basis, its absolutely necessary for all developers to utilize these great tools to enhance and extend the user experience.  With the site actively working on developing new and exciting ways to implement the world’s largest social network with the rest of the web, this is something devs simply can’t ignore.




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